When you haven't seen that before

What do you do when you come across something you’ve never seen before in a home? For instance, a radiant ceiling heater, or some newfangled gadget in a new home? Do you exclude it from the inspection, or what? After all, no one has seen everything, and the owner doesn’t usually have the instructions taped to the appliance (except me, that is).


You exclude the item and let the buyer know that you are not qualified to inspect it.

Tell the truth never ever lie .
Many people can see instantly when you have told a lie and you are finished with that client and every one they ever see who might need a home inspector .

Gee I am sorry this is a new one to me and I know very little about XXX XX but I am fortunate to belong to the Largest home Inspector association in the world .
We have a lot of great inspectors who I expect will be able to help us get more information on XXX XX and I will get back to with more information by tomorrow evening.
Worked for me more then once and I know it has worked for many others .
It also is a good idea if possible to have a couple of phone numbers with you so you can call if you need some instant help or confirmation.
Many of the best Inspectors some times need some help I know I do phone others some times .

I can see where these message boards are indispensable to HI’s. Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.


The message board here at NACHI opens a whole new world of understanding about who, what, where and when in home inspections . . . just come back and visit often . . . this board is so helpful, everyday I’m able to visit I learn something new each time . . . good luck, I agree with Roy’s post above, never lie, tell the truth and come here and ask . . . most of the time within a very short time you’ll find out what that “newfangled gadget” really is and how to inspect it.

And if you take a photo and post it here someone will more than likely no what it is.

AS always COOKIE has some gems of wisdom, I need to add some numbers to my cell phone.

OH and the last time COOKIE saw something for the first time MEN lived in caves! LOL:mrgreen:



Don’t forget that Nachi **members **have Bruce Kirby as our “Inspectors Consultant” available 24hrs/day…

As well as: http://www.nachi.org/contact.htm at our disposal.

So Tom, when you gonna join Nachi ??? :wink:

I sure hope that it is not something that MUST be reported on IAW SOP or State Law! :slight_smile:

If you are not required to report on something, don’t. If the client wants to know what it is, they can ask the current homeowner or you can post it here. Inter NACHI covers the world, and someone may have seen it before!

Don’t think that you have to have all the answers. Just tell the client that you will find out! I have no problem telling someone I don’t know something. We generally have a good laugh over it.

For example…
O.K., so what the heck is this?

Shimmed step. :wink:
mmmmmmmm, I don’t know about the cleat and extension.

Some kind of homemade burgler alarm? Step on the loose stair, and clack the cleats together?

Er,… a homemade alarm that alerts the parents their teen is trying to sneak out of the house? Otherwise, Lord save us from Harry Homeowner. :shock: :shock: :shock: :roll:

That’s a diving board for rats.

Heck that’s a float switch. When the water in the basement rises up to that tread the circuit is completed to the thumb tack, which …aww forget it!

That’s one of the reason’s I hate for the client to be in my hip pocket during the inspection. When I take a little longer than usual looking at something unusual, they think its a red flag.

If they aren’t with me, I usually take lots of photos and may post them here. In my oral summary with them, if I have one, I usually don’t mention something unless I’m sure I’m going to note it as a Summary item in the report. Would rather have to explain its inclusion later than mention it as unusual during the inspection and have to explain why I didn’t put it in the report.

John, you may have something going there…

The house was built in 1940. The device looks like original equipment!? :-0

Come on guys & gals, I assured the client and Realtor that someone In NACHI would know! We had a good laugh over what it could be.